Ask Wizards—Tuesday, January 21

Posted in Feature on January 21, 2014

Ask Wizards is a weekly feature that allows you to ask us questions! If you'd like to submit your question please email it to We aren't able to answer every question we receive but if your question is good then it might show up in the coming weeks!

 Q: Does Nykthos produce six mana from Nightveil Specter or three? —Jack D.

A: Mike McArtor, copy editor for DailyMTG:

Just three. Nightveil Specter provides three toward your devotion to blue, so with just it and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx you could produce UUU. It provides three toward your devotion to black, so with just it and Nykthos you could produce BBB.

BUT! Nightveil Specter also provides three toward your devotion to blue and black, which will be important if you're playing with it and, say, the card that Gavin Verhey previews in today's ReConstructed.

Kelly Digges helpfully explains hybrid mana symbols and devotion like this: "You're not summing your individual devotions to the two colors—you're counting all the mana symbols that are either or both of the two colors. Nightveil Specter has three mana symbols on it, so the most it can add to your devotion to anything is three—but it adds that three if you're counting blue, black, blue and black, or any other combination that includes blue or black." (Thanks Kelly!)

Q: Some friends and I play a lot of casual Commander games and are wondering about the ruling of hybrid cards in a deck that doesn't have one of the colors in it. For example, the card Bioshift costs one blue or one green; can that card be included in, say, a mono-green Commander deck? We would also like a ruling on cards like Profit & Loss. —Matt G.

A: Mike McArtor, copy editor for DailyMTG:

In order for a card to be included in a Commander deck all of the colors of its entire color identity must fit within the color identity of your commander. Color identity is defined as "…the set of colors the card is and the colors of any mana symbols appearing on the card." Hybrid mana symbols count as both colors, so, to use your example, Bioshift is both green and blue, meaning it can't be included in a mono-green deck.

The same is true of a split card, where both halves have to be within your commander's color identity in order to include it in your deck, even if you only want to use one side or the other. Going back to your examples, Profit // Loss is both white and black, meaning you can't include it in a Commander deck unless your commander includes both white and black in its color identity. It gets even more restrictive when you look at split cards like Ready // Willing, where your commander must have black and green and white in its color identity to include the card.

Color identity extends to the text box (but does not include reminder text, like that for the extort mechanic), so, for example, Scholar of Athreos's color identity is white and black. Oh, and double-faced cards? Yup, both sides count for color identity, whether because of a color indicator (as on Cloistered Youth/Unholy Fiend) or because of mana symbols (as on Daybreak Ranger/Nightfall Predator).

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